Etymology
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wonder woman (n.)

1912, "ideal woman, woman who seems wonderful or has wonderful qualities," from wonder (n.) + woman. The comic book superheroine debuted in DC Comics in 1941.

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femme fatale (n.)

"attractive and dangerous woman," 1895, from French femme fatale, attested by 1844, from French femme "woman," from Latin femina "woman, a female" (see feminine) + fatale (see fatal).

Une femme fatale est une femme qui porte malheur. [Jules Claretie, "La Vie a Paris," 1896]

Earlier, such a woman might be called a Circe.

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au pair (n.)

1897 of the arrangement whereby a young woman from abroad helps with housework or child care in exchange for room and board; by 1960 in reference to the woman; French, literally "on an equal footing" (see au + pair (n.)).

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sugar daddy (n.)

also sugar-daddy, "elderly man who lavishes gifts on a young woman" [OED], 1926, from sugar + daddy.

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plain Jane 

"homely or unattractive woman, girl without beauty," attested by 1912, a rhyming formation from plain (adj.).

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cherchez la femme 

French, literally "seek the woman," on the notion that a woman is the cause for whatever crime has been committed, first used by Alexandre Dumas père in "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1864) in the form cherchons la femme. French chercher is from Latin circare, in Late Latin "to wander hither and thither," from circus "circle" (see circus).

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feme covert (n.)

"married woman" (legalese), c. 1600, French, from Old French feme coverte, second element fem. of covert "covered" (see covert). Contrasted to feme sole. Also compare coverture.

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Traviata, La 

title of an opera by Verdi, Italian, literally "the woman led astray," from traviata literally "to lead beyond the way," from tra- "across, beyond" (from Latin trans; see trans-) + via "way" (see via).

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grass widow (n.)

1520s, the earliest recorded sense is "mistress;" the allusion to grass is not clear, but it commonly was believed to refer to casual bedding (compare bastard and German Strohwitwe, literally "straw-widow," and compare the expression give (a woman) a grass gown "roll her playfully on the grass" (1580s), also euphemistic for the loss of virginity). Revived late 18c. as "one that pretends to have been married, but never was, yet has children;" in early 19c. use it could mean "married woman whose husband is absent" (and often presumed, but not certainly known to be, dead), also often applied to a divorced or discarded wife or an unmarried woman who has had a child. Both euphemistic and suggestive.

[G]rasse wydowes ... be yet as seuerall as a barbours chayre and neuer take but one at onys. [More, 1528]
GRASS WIDOW, s. a forsaken fair one, whose nuptials, not celebrated in a church, were consummated, in all pastoral simplicity, on the green turf. [Rev. Robert Forby, "Vocabulary of East Anglia," London, 1830]
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jolie laide (n.)

"girl or woman whose attractiveness defies standards of beauty," 1849, a French expression (by 1780 in French), from fem. singular of joli "pretty" (see jolly) + laid "ugly," from Frankish *laid (see loath (adj.)).

Of beauty, as we narrowly understand it in England, [the 18c. French woman of society] had but little; but she possessed so many other witcheries that her habitual want of features and complexion ceased to count against her. Expression redeemed the absence of prettiness and the designation jolie laide was invented for her in order to express her power of pleasing despite her ugliness. ["The Decadence of French Women," Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, October 1881]
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